Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Exclusive interview with the stars of Queen of Katwe, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga & Martin Kabanza #QueenofKatweEvent

****Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event ****

While in LA for the Queen of Katwe event we were very fortunate to be able to sit down and chat with the stars of the film, with Lupita Nyong’o, who portrays “Harriet Mutesi”, Madina Nalwanga “Phiona Mutesi” & Martin Kabanza who played Phiona’s brother “Brian Mugabi” in Queen of Katwe. 

Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Ever wonder what interviewing an Oscar winner is like? Well it is pretty amazing… I am still in awe that I was able to interview Lupita Nyong’o. Her Oscar winning performance in 12 Years a Slave, was spectacular. In person she was stunning, and graceful, just as you would imagine. Sure we are all familiar with the lovely Lupita Nyong’o but I would like to introduce you all to some very talented newcomers Madina Nalwanga, and  Martin Kabanza. 
Madina Nalwanga, grew up in a life similar to Phiona in the movie Queen of Katwe, she too spent her time on the streets selling corn but instead of using chess to get away from the life she was living, Madina used dance as her outlet to escape. She was spotted on the streets and given a chance at the Sosolya Undugu Dance Academy for underprivileged youth. Queen of Katwe was the first acting job form Madina, she learned to act just for this film. Martin Kabanza was discovered while playing football, and made his acting debut in Queen of Katwe. 
I was excited to speak with each of these talented actors. As soon as this trio entered the room you could see their fondness for each other, Lupita was a bit of a mother hen, watching after the kids and making sure they were in the spotlight. This was such a heartwarming interview with some laughs and even some tears. So what did we have to ask these talented folks? Here are some of the great interview questions: 

What was the three of you working together like?

Lupita Nyong’o:  "We like each other, and we had a lot of fun together.  I met them before we started shooting.  They were both just so receptive to me and Madina actually taught me how to cook. My whole onscreen family, we went and did it together and then we went back to her house and she showed me how to prepare the meal. They’re really hungry and curious and present as actors and it was so lovely for me to have that present kind of immediate condition to work in".
Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Martin Kabanza:  "What you talk about Mama?"

Lupita Nyong’o: "They still call me Mama".

Martin Kabanza:   "It was my first time acting, I never knew anything about acting, but she taught us how to get into character.  We used to copy her everything she do.  We tried to do it, so she was so good.  She was a good mom". 

Madina Nalwanga:I really used to copy her and I named myself copycat because every time I could see her getting, getting ready, getting to character and then I do what she was doing in a quiet ways and she can’t see me, but she was really good and she really helped me in some of the hard scenes that are really hard because I could not really cry because you’ll never find dancers sad. We are always happy and she was there for me to make sure that I get into character so that I can cry.  She really helped me so much”. 
Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

“That’s why I still call her mom because ever since I was young and I ever since I left my mom because she wanted me to go to school and that’s why I left her, I’ve never had someone else or anyone else that I’ve ever called Mom since I was four up to last year, so she was the first one to be called mom from my mom and it was so, so nice for me to call her mom. She was amazing for me and when I called mom for the first time, she replied to me, and I got touched inside my heart”.   

Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Martin Kabanza:  “I was raised by my grandparents.  My mother left me when I was three months,  because it was my first time to say mom in my mouth”.

When the kids spoke about calling Lupita Mama, it just broke me down to tears. Oh the tears! I saw now why when they all walked into the interview Lupita looked after the children so intently. When the children talked about their “Mama” there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. There was true love there and these kids and Lupita will be forever changed because of this film. To them it was not just a job, not just a film, but they built an amazing relationship.  My daughter calls me Mama, and hearing the love these children had for Lupita, made me think of my daughter and how much I missed her, I just wanted to give her a big hug. It was tough but we had to get it together and go on with the interviews, we still had some great questions to come!

Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Are there any scenes that were especially touching for you?

Lupita Nyong’o:What wasn’t touching?  I do remember once we were about to shoot the eviction scene, where we all, get evicted and these two were very quiet they were quite, pensive and I asked them how they felt. They both mentioned how this was their life.  They both experienced evictions in their past and I just remember being really moved at how this, the artifice was reflecting a real life in Phiona, but also in both of them and that they were having this chance to tell their story, to bring it to a larger audience that would understand the, challenges of poverty. 

But also the triumph of people who live through it, the fact that poverty is not, is not one’s definition. They were going to have this chance to put that experience of their past into very, very good and immediate use in the scene were about to shoot”….  “Here I am playing the mother and being the shepherdess of these two going through this experience and yet, I was learning so much from them. I was just humbled by the, that moment and being able to take their lead as we went to do that scene”.

Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

What was your favorite scene in the movie?
Martin Kabanza :   “Where, I run for the chicken. It was so work for me because all the time I was eating chicken!” 

Lupita Nyong’o:  “I was trying to teach them about when they give you food, you can’t eat too much of it because there’s going to be so many takes and you’re going to be sick by the time you finish the scene and I wasn’t there for that scene, but we had a scene where we had to eat this stew and the art department made this stew so good, so all the kids were just like, scarfing it down and I was like, guy, you’ve got to slow down because you’re not going to make it and then before you know it, and they didn’t want. By the time we’re shooting, they’re pushing it away.  They didn’t want anything to do with it.” 
Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Madina Nalwanga:  “My favorite part in the movie was seeing David (Oyelowo) running around doing the cat and dog scene because not in my life, I’ve never had someone who has time for me, who has time for all of us.  He had time for us, so he could do the cat and dog playing for us...  It was fun for me.  I liked it, but I felt it because I felt it because ever since, for all of my life, I’ve never had someone like that” “He had time for us, so I respected him, his time and I enjoyed watching what he was doing for us and it was so amazing to see him jumping, collapsing that was my favorite”. 

Martin Kabanza:   “Another time, scene that I liked in the movie is the flood scene .  I like Mama doing it.  She was so real and me, I didn’t have that power of crying, but she made me cry in that scene because she was so real”.

Lupita Nyong’o:  “It was, and we shot that in South Africa over four days and it was the winter time in South Africa, so it was a little shy of thirty degrees so we would get to set, get into our costumes, go into a hot tub, get wet and then go into this freezing cold water all day and every time they said, cut, we’d run to this hot tub. And just sit in and then we got all muddy because of the mud in the water and we’d just sit there and, sing and talk and play until we had to go again”.
Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Do you prefer roles in stories that have never been told and what do you hope to bring to the forefront in playing those roles?

Lupita Nyong’o:  “I love playing roles that that stretch me and help me to learn something new and deep about the human experience…. To be able to bring, to the forefront stories, particular and specific stories about African women in their variety is so exciting to me because I’m a child of global popular culture. I grew up watching Mexican, Brazilian, Australian, English, American TV. I was able to identify with all those people that I met and learn something new about those cultures". 

"I identified with the sibling rivalry or the heartbreak or whatnot and so for an African story to be playing that same kind of role, a universal story that’s still and it’s specificity as we find with Phiona Mutesi in this story of Queen of Katwe, it is my pride and my joy. I am so happy to be able to play a part in, in making the African woman the global woman”. 
Lupita and the kids were so very down to earth and very nice to meet. Each of these newcomers were amazing, in Queen of Katwe. They took to acting very well, I am sure we will see more of them in the future. Lupita was amazing as usual, she has such a knack of becoming the characters she plays and I would not be surprised if another Oscar nod is in her future. 
Have you had the chance to see Queen of Katwe on the big screen? Queen of Katwe is playing now in select theaters, be sure to check your local listings for a theater near you. If there are no theaters playing the film, near you… don’t worry, the movie will be in theaters nationwide starting 9/30/16! Are you looking forward to seeing Queen of Katwe? 

 Like Queen of Katwe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QueenOfKatwe/
Follow Queen of Katwe on Instagram:
Follow Queen of Katwe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/queenofkatwe
Visit the Queen of Katwe website: http://movies.disney.com/queen-of-katwe

Queen of Katwe is in theaters in limited release now and everywhere on September 30th!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Check out some great Hasbro toys for after school fun! #Hasbro

It is that time again, back to school! The school year is now in full swing and there are plenty of assignments, homework and studying to be done. But when the kids are finished with their daily work they are still kids, so be sure to get them outside, and enjoy the weather while you can with some fun new toys from Hasbro.  Hasbro has characters that you know and love and even some brand new characters that the kids will love.
First up is a brand new doll set the Disney Elena of Avalor and Isabel Doll 2-Pack. What is better than getting a doll to play with? Well getting a set of two to play with. Elena of Avalor is Disney’s newest and popular princess.
Disney Elena of Avalor and Isabel Doll 2-Pack  - Elena of Avalor is the adventurous Crown Princess. Her sister, Isabel of Avalor, has an inventive and scientific mind that balances Elena of Avalor's impulsive nature, and helps the Crown Princess protect the Kingdom of Avalor. With this sister 2-pack, girls can pretend to join Elena of Avalor and Isabel of Avalor on magical adventures in their enchanted kingdom. These beautiful fashion dolls come dressed in their TV series-inspired dresses, complete with fun, removable accessories – a book for Isabel of Avalor that opens and she can hold, a belt, hairclips, shoes, and earrings! Ages 3 and up retails for $24.99.
Do you remember playing Bop It? This challenging fun game is just as popular as ever. Wouldn’t this be great to just burn off some steam from a long day of studying. Heck I think this would be a blast to play after a long day at work, yes I am still a big kid at heart. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Check and mate, a winning take on Disney's amazing movie Queen of Katwe! #QueenofKatweEvent

****Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event ****

Have you ever seen a movie that moved you? I am talking about a movie that may have made you really feel for the characters, a movie that made you weep and really think about life. Disney's The Queen of Katwe is one of those movies, a movie that will move you in all the best ways a movie can. 

I have to admit going into this movie I was not sure what to expect, sure I have seen the previews and have read reviews... Some of my blogger friends raved and raved about this film, but I was not sure what I would think?  Sure it was most likely good, but I was not sure what to think really?
As you can see from the previews, this young woman's life changed by becoming a master chess player. It is a great concept for a movie, but did you know this movie was based on a true story? Not one of those "true stories" where there is a tiny bit of truth and the rest is just Hollywood... No, this was a real story, about a real girl, and her family. This made the film that much more fascinating and also at times hard to watch. To know what terrible conditions you can live in, and how one change to your life can truly change the course of it like you could never imagine. 

I think of all of the opportunities I have had in my life, and seeing a story like this makes me understand even more how blessed I am. I may not have grown up in the best of neighborhoods, and money was not something we really ever had, I too, like Phiona was given a chance to do more with my life, and I am very grateful. A quote from the film, from Robert Katende, that I loved was "You belong where you believe you belong" this is such a powerful statement, and sums up the feeling of the film pretty well. Believe in yourself, and no matter who you are or where you are from there is a better life out there for you, and you deserve to have that life.

If you are looking for a movie that will tug at your heart strings, keep you on the edge of your seat and fully entertained, I would highly suggest checking out Disney's Queen of Katwe. From the brightly colored shots, to the amazing acting in the film, especially from newcomer Madina Nalwanga, who portrayed Phiona. She is a natural, it is hard to believe that this was her first acting job, she was taught to act just for this film! If she wants to pursue acting as a full time job, I am sure she will have a bright career ahead of her. 

The Queen of Katwe is a movie the whole family will love, it will make you laugh it will make you cry, it will make you dream, and help you appreciate the good you have in life. I adored this movie, the message it gave, and how it made me feel. When a movie makes you feel...deep down inside...this is a special gem, and should be shared with all. Queen of Katwe is in theaters in limited release now, and everywhere on September 30th.
“Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. 

Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a. and John Carls, p.g.a. with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nomineeLupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

Like Queen of Katwe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QueenOfKatwe/
Follow Queen of Katwe on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/queenofkatwemovie/ Follow Queen of Katwe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/queenofkatwe
Visit the Queen of Katwe website: http://movies.disney.com/queen-of-katwe

Queen of Katwe is in theaters in limited release now, and everywhere on September 30th!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Sunday, September 25, 2016

In a land far far away we caught up with Co-Creators & Executive Producers of Once Upon a Time and got a sneak peek of season 6! #ABCTVEvent #OnceUponATime

.****Disney provided an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event ****

I know you all have to be excited for the season 6 premiere of Once Upon a Time. I know I am, and so is my mother and my niece. This generationally loved show is a must watch for fairy tale fans. My mother loves this show so much, I know not to call when it is on, because she will just rush me off the phone because "her show is on!" She has to watch it right when it airs, and can not miss a minute. I am sure she is not the only one, Once Upon a Time fans are devoted, and loyal, and can't wait for the "The Savior" season six premiere, which is tonight Sunday, September 25 at 8:00/9:00 p.m. EDT.
Photo Credit ABC/Jack Rowand

I was very fortunate to have an early sneak peek of the season six premiere before it aired! There was so much going on in this episode, there were surprises, and answers to many questions. You will not be disappointed. Sorry to be a bit vague about what I saw, if I tell you more it will be a spoiler, you will just have to be sure to watch the Once Upon a Time premiere episode that airs tonight. But, I have included some exclusive images from this episode throughout this post, to give you a little bit of a peek!
Photo Credit ABC/Jack Rowand

In the season premiere episode, “The Savior,” as our heroes set out to stop Hyde, Emma develops a mysterious side effect, and Storybrooke becomes a haven for refugees from the Land of Untold Stories. Meanwhile, Regina and Zelena embrace their newfound sisterhood by becoming roommates, while Rumple tries to free Belle from the sleeping Curse with the help of a stranger. In flashback, Jafar confronts an afflicted Aladdin in Agrabah, and a secret about the Savior is revealed.
Photo Credit ABC/Jack Rowand

“Once Upon a Time” stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen/Regina, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David, Emilie de Ravin as Belle, Colin O’Donoghue as Hook, Jared S. Gilmore as Henry Mills, Rebecca Mader as the Wicked Witch/Zelena and Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold.
Photo Credit ABC/Jack Rowand

Guest starring are Raphael Sbarge as Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Oded Fehr as Jafar, Deniz Akdeniz as Aladdin, Tarun Keram as Emir, Peter Marcin as Chief, Farris Tyab, Jordan Ashley Olson as Young Nurse/Oracle, Giles Matthey as Morpheus, Thomas Gasior as Musketeer #1, Ingrid Torrance as Nurse Ratchet, Hank Harris as Dr. Jekyll and Sam Witwer as Mr. Hyde. “The Savior” was written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz directed by Eagle Egilsson.  
Photo Credit ABC/Jack Rowand

While in LA we got a chance to chat with the co-creators and executive producers of Once Upon a Time, Edward Kitsis  & Adam Horowitz. These guys came up with the idea for this show in 2002 in Edward's apartment and they are still just as passionate about this show now as they were in the very beginning.

Photo Credit ABC/Todd Wawrychuk

What can we expect for season six? According to Edward Kitsis: "There’s a lot of romance you’re going to see, the first few episodes have a lot of that romance in them". Adam Horowitz says "this season they will be exploring the Land of Untold Stories... We are exploring a Savior mythology this season."

What are the other characters we can expect to see this season? The guys shared the astounding list of characters, including: The Count of Monte Cristo, Captain Nemo, Cinderella, Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, The Evil Stepsisters, and The Wicked Stepmother. There will also be more of Jiminy, Elroy, and the Dwarves. Wow! What an amazing character line up, we have so much to look forward to.  I am especially looking forward to seeing Captain Nemo, now that is going to be a great story line, I have always been a huge 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fan. There is just something about a diving adventure that pulls me in! 

How much does the role of social media play in the show? The guys agreed that if they would listen to everyone, Robin would be alive, and dead. Regina would be with Daniel. The Huntsman would be alive and dead. Edward Kitsis, stated “You have to stay true to it and sometimes you really fail, and sometimes you really succeed, but at the end of the day and the show is over, I think the two of us want to look back and say, we did what we wanted" "We love the fans and we love their thoughts" He also said..."We love the community, we love the positivity”. 
Edward Kitsis on the left and Adam Horowitz on the right Creators & Executive Producers. Surrounded by some amazing bloggers.  Photo credit Carol Jones / All Mommy Wants

Adam Horowitz said “We love to hear from the fans. By the time you’re watching the premiere we’re already talking about the back half of the season..." he went on to say "What's great about it, is getting the sense of the fans and what they like, what they respond to, and what they’re invested in, and that’s really gratifying for us to see that passion." When the guys see the fans get upset, they know there is so much more that can happen with the character they want to say... "Be Patient!!" As a fan I can understand, sometimes when something happens to a favorite character it is hard to wait and be patient, but the love for the characters, this is what I my opinion makes the show so great.

How many more seasons do you think there will be for Once Upon a Time? According to Adam Horowitz, “there is no end date, but we have an end plan, we know how we would like to end the show when the time comes”. Edward Kitsis, joked and said "SPOILER!!!! "I’m thinking they all die.  The greatest twist we could do is a show about hope becomes the bleakest show ever."  These guys are such kidders. Of course they are all not going to die, but hey you never know how they will end the show one day?? Be sure to stay tuned tonight for Once Upon a Time, "The Savior"  season six premiere, tonight Sunday September 25 8:00/9:00 p.m. EDT.


Once Upon a Time premiers Sunday September 25 8:00/9:00 p.m. EDT 

Like Once Upon a Time of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OnceABC Follow Once Upon a Time on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OnceABC
Visit the Once Upon a Time Website: http://abc.go.com/shows/once-upon-a-time

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Friday, September 23, 2016

Take a walk with me down the red carpet at the Premiere of Queen of Katwe! #QueenofKatweevent

****Disney is providing an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this great event ****

Have you ever wondered what a going to a red carpet premiere of a Disney movie is like? I have been blessed to attend a few myself, because of my job, one of the best jobs in the world. You get to be a part of the pageantry and dress up and walk past the celebrities and even the paparazzi. To go behind the velvet rope, really makes you feel special. Imagine doing something you have always dreamed of doing, stepping out of the normal and joining in on a dream. To think, what would I be doing at home on a Tuesday night? Making dinner, or cleaning? But not this Tuesday night, I am headed to the red carpet!! Is this real? Oh yes it is real.

Many many Disney movies become instant classics, and for me it is such a big deal to be at the unveiling of a new movie. It is like being a part of history, utterly too cool for words. For this special evening I was joined with 24 amazing bloggers and some pretty cool PR folks. The bloggers and I all seemed to go with bright prints some African inspired for our red carpet wear, we all wanted to be pretty and colorful. 
I decided on a purple and red print dress that was bold and bright, and comfortable, who wants to be uncomfortable while attending an amazing event like this, comfort and style is key for me. The dress looked great with the red carpet. I was on the same carpet as A-list celebrities and Oscar winners, it was pretty surreal, this is something that can never get old, it is a unique experience each time. Look at the excited crowds of people, the carpet was packed! 

It's a time to get away from real life, and enjoy the Hollywood life. I was no longer an quiet mom from Philadelphia, I was a celebrity for the night, with a fancy dress, jewelry and dazzling makeup. I was a short distance from, the stars Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga & Martin Kabanza who seemed to be having the greatest time hanging out with each other. 
I was ready to strut my stuff and head off to see Queen of Katwe in the historic El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard. This is the theater has been a staple for premieres since the 20’s. The large theater is classic, from the grand organ, to the large flowing curtains to balcony seats. 
This theater brings you back to a time when going out to the movies was a special event.  The crowds on the red carpet we just as excited as I was to see the movie, and before I knew it I was at the theater ready to enjoy.
Soon I will be sharing my review of Queen of Katwe but for now I can tell you, I loved the movie. It was such a wonderful story, so heartwarming and real... but make sure you bring tissues!
Right from one exciting experience to another, as soon as the premiere was over we were all invited to an after party at the Hard Rock, a time for food drinks and more celebrity spotting.

There was so much food, and the place was packed with Hollywood's best, there was music and dancing. We even got a great show of dance moves from the youngest stars of the Queen of Katwe.
These kids were having the time of their lives, just dancing up a storm. Soon others joined in and it was a bit of a dance party, such an amazing time. As I headed off to check out the food I met up with Josh Peck, you may know him from the classic Nick show Drake and Josh, and also from Grandfathered (ah I miss that show!) he was so super sweet and down to earth, I just had to get a selfie!

What a whirlwind of an evening I had a wonderful time with some amazing people. Here we are on the "Oscar stairs" dressed to the nines! These lovely ladies look amazing, am I right? This was such an unforgettable night!
I will have more information about the movie Queen of Katwe to share with you all soon, including interviews with the stars Lupita Nyong'oMadina Nalwanga & Martin Kabanza, Director Mira Nair and real life inspirations Phiona Mutesi & Robert Katende. Stay tuned for these amazing interviews they will be posted soon.
Like Queen of Katwe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QueenOfKatwe/
Follow Queen of Katwe on Instagram:
Follow Queen of Katwe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/queenofkatwe
Visit the Queen of Katwe website: http://movies.disney.com/queen-of-katwe

Queen of Katwe opens in theaters in limited release on September 23rd and everywhere on September 30th!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.

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